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Staffing issues persist for Falck, San Diego's ambulance provider

The city said Falk's ability to retain and recruit employees remains a significant issue as the company continues to fall short in serving San Diegans.

SAN DIEGO — The city of San Diego's ambulance provider, Falck, continues to experience staffing issues and falls short in serving the needs of those who live here. 

Falck and the San Diego Fire Department planned to present a recent report looking at July, August, and September to the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhood Committee Wednesday morning.

The city said Falk's ability to retain and recruit employees remains a significant issue. Falck is contracted to work 900 median hours a month but dipped to 756 median hours in September.

"There's an implication that Falck is trying to save money by not staffing, but that's just not true," said Jeff Behm, the managing director of Falck Mobile Health in San Diego.

Since January, Behm said the company had spent $1.5 million a month above its budgeted wages to pay employees overtime.

"Paramedics can pick up additional shifts to try to help us out with our staffing; we are paying them double time," he said.

Hospitals are also short-staffed and overwhelmed.

Ambulances are being forced to wait to give patients over to the ER.

"Now hospitals treat patients on our gurney during the first thirty minutes. We're going to have patients waiting at hospitals longer while people are waiting for our response," Behm said.

This comes as Behm said the county is experiencing unprecedented call volumes.

"I was just on a county meeting today where they said the past Monday and Monday before has seen incredible ED volumes that they have not seen before in the history of tracking ED volumes," he said.

While many cities face staffing issues, Falck said there are more ambulances on the streets in San Diego than ever before.

WATCH RELATED: Falck San Diego unveils four new ambulances wrapped in safety messages

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